House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week defended her support as a Catholic for a controversial bill that would legalize abortion "without limitations" by saying God "has given us a free will."
Pelosi's comments on Thursday came one day before the House passed the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755), which would guarantee that abortion remains legal nationwide even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Further, the bill would overturn hundreds of state-level pro-life abortion restrictions.
The House passed the bill on a largely party-line vote, 218-211, with one Democrat joining 210 Republicans in opposing it. No GOP representative supported it. It faces an uphill climb in the U.S. Senate.
On Thursday, Pelosi was asked to respond to remarks by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who had said the bill "is nothing short of child sacrifice."
"I'm Catholic. I come from a pro-life family … [who is] different in their view of a woman's right to choose then I am," she said, adding that she had five children in six years. "... And I keep saying to people who say things like [the archbishop said], when you have five children ... in six years and one [week], we can talk about what business it is of any of us to tell anyone what to do."
Children, she said, have been a "complete and total blessing which we enjoy every day of our lives."
"But it's none of our business how other people choose the size and timing of their families," she said. "The archbishop … of San Francisco and I have a disagreement about who should decide this. I believe that God has given us a free will to honor our responsibilities."
The text of the bill says its purpose is to "permit health care providers to provide abortion services without limitations or requirements."
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who compared the bill to child sacrifice, also had said the bill "is surely the type of legislation one would expect from a devout Satanist, not a devout Catholic."
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.